Office building owners on Poydras Street in New Orleans are worried about losing tenants and lease payments over Louisiana’s worst state budget crisis in 30 years. Like nearby Mississippi, where some state restaurant inspectors have already lost their offices and are working from their personal cars and homes, state government in Louisiana is way short — about $600 million shy — of balancing its books. newOrleansoffices_406x250It has those Big Easy owners worried because the state could get out of millions of dollars in lease payments, simply by moving out. But even if the state does not bust its Big Easy leases, food safety is coming in for major cuts. Shauna Sanford, press secretary for Gov. Bel Edwards, said an 11 percent overall budget cut will require a 26 percent reduction in annual inspections. That’s 20,738 inspections a year that won’t be done. The reduction in funding is $983,632. Louisiana field inspectors completed 80,315 retail and institutional inspections during the previous year, and the budget crisis means that number will be cut to 59,575. The current 145 field inspectors will be reduced by 11 positions to 129. “Implementing drastic cuts to important programs is not something I ever wanted to happen and tried to avoid during the first special legislative session,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This is an unfortunate consequence of not adequately funding our government. I am committed to solving our problems and as we work to fix the $600 million state budget deficit remaining for next year, I am urging  every citizen to ask their legislators to work with me to stabilize the budget going forward.” Edwards, who inherited the budget mess when taking over for former Gov. Bobby Jindal earlier this year, is looking for other savings. Scheduled state employee pay raises and school vouchers have also been reported as being on the block. The governor says one thing for certain is state finances are not going to improve in the next 30 days when the budget must be adopted. Edwards ran for governor in 2015 from the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he’d served two terms. Louisiana was looking at a $1.6 billion shortfall when the Legislature’s session got underway on April 13. Economists say the state’s problem is structural, not due to energy prices. Tax increases created large surpluses before Jindal bet on tax cuts. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)